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European Union could pay over $10 billion for Pfizer and CureVac vaccines

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United States regulators were set to begin the first steps in approving a Covid-19 vaccine on Friday with the submission of an emergency use authorisation request by vaccine developers Pfizer/BioNTech. Under the regular vaccine approval process, the FDA would collect the results of a company's quality testing as well as samples that the agency could test itself to ensure they meet US standards before doses are released to the public.

Henry said that they are working on how they will roll out the vaccine and some of the logistical challenges that come with both vaccines.

On November 16, Moderna said early analysis of its vaccine trial showed that it is 94.5% effective at preventing the virus.

Two weeks after warning about a mutated variant of the virus in minks that could threaten the effectiveness of a vaccine, Denmark said Thursday the strain has likely been eradicated. The vaccine's two doses will be separated by a period of 21 days, with the first shot occurring on day zero.

Health experts advising the USA government have recommended health-care workers treating Covid-19 patients be first, followed by those at high risk of infection like elderly in nursing homes and prisoners.

The twin breakthroughs have lifted hopes for an end to a pandemic that has infected more than 56 million people and caused more than 1.3 million deaths worldwide since the virus first emerged in China late a year ago.

Of the 170 volunteers who contracted COVID-19 in Pfizer's trial involving over 43,000 people, 162 had received only a placebo, meaning the vaccine was 95% effective, far higher than originally expected. For example, the 95% protection rate is based on people who developed symptoms and then were tested for the virus.

Their messenger RNA vaccines ready a person's immune system to protect against Covid-19 by training cells to make molecules that wage battle against the new coronavirus.

No mRNA vaccine has ever been approved but both the BioNTech/Pfizer and the Moderna efforts are based on it. A measure that the government has always wanted to avoid, but faced with the rapid and risky rise of the second wave of Covid-19 - more than 5,000 positive cases per day - the French president had to resolve himself and declare a new quarantine. Pfizer plans to ship the vaccine in special boxes of 1,000 to 5,000 doses that are stuffed with dry ice and equipped with GPS-enabled sensors.

How long does most vaccine development take?

"We have seen tremendous uptake of that option already", Azar said yesterday.

Distribution of a Pfizer-BioNTech shot is complicated by the need to store it at ultra-cold temperatures of -70 degrees Celsius.

Ontario's Minister of Health says the province is expected to receive 2.4 million COVID-19 vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna between January and March 2021.

Moderna Therapeutics Inc. became the latest company to announce groundbreaking success rates from its novel coronavirus vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273.

Experts are closely following the progress of several other vaccines, including one developed by Johnson & Johnson and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which uses a different approach and might only require one shot.

"These are extraordinary results, and the safety data look good", said David Spiegelhalter, a professor and expert in risk and evidence communication at the University of Cambridge.

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